Working with First Nations
Our operations overlap with numerous traditional First Nations territories in British Columbia. We are committed to the development of mutually beneficial opportunities for First Nations participation in our planning and operations, including economic development, procurement, education and employment.
Examples of successful business arrangements with First Nations, include those with Ktunaxa, Lheidli T’enneh, Moricetown, Cheslatta, McLeod Lake, Bonaparte, Blueberry River, Doig River, Halfway River, Prophet River, Saulteau, Wet’suwet’en and West Moberly First Nations, to name a few.
Our corporate strategy is built on a foundation of respect for First Nations and an interest in opening up opportunities both through training, employment and business activities, and through understanding of the growing involvement of First Nations in the resource sector.
Our Aboriginal relationships manager is working with First Nations, the BC government and others in the resource sector to align efforts which, among other things, encourage First Nations involvement in forest sector careers and help industry-First Nations best practices. In 2016, she joined the board of Indigenous Works, a non-profit that aims to involve more Indigenous People in the Canadian economy.
In 2014, we signed a Relationship Protocol and an Engagement and Benefits Agreement with the Ktunaxa Nation Council in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. This clearly sets out processes for engagement and potential means for accommodation. A 2015-16 Ktunaxa Nation Council annual report identified targets and outcomes related to a variety of topics. It showed that Canfor has provided support for training, gave preference to contractors who hire Ktunaxa employees and donated products and money to support Ktunaxa Nation communities. Thanks to a number of activities, such as a business match-up event and engagement through a joint management advisory committee, Canfor has increased the value of procurement from Ktunaxa businesses in 2015-16 by 27%.
We also worked with the Ktunaxa Nation and the Shuswap Indian Band to identify culturally significant forests and develop strategies to address their concerns. We increased the participation in the forest economy of Akisqnuk First Nation, a member of the Ktunaxa Nation, by entering a fibre agreement for their Replaceable Forest License. We also worked with Nupqu, the Ktunaxa Nation’s natural resources development corporation, to expand opportunities for a Tobacco Plains Indian Band logging crew.
In 2016, we sponsored a number of key First Nations activities across British Columbia, including the Wet'Suwet'En First Nation’s hunting and trapping program for youth; the McLeod Lake Indian Band Annual General Assembly; Doig River First Nation Cultural Days; the Lheidli T’enneh Annual General Assembly; the Lake Babine Annual General Assembly, and Takla Lake First Nation Community Christmas Events. We were a community level sponsor for the 40th gathering of the Annual BC Elders Gathering Society, hosted by the Tl’etinqox Government in Williams Lake. It brings together Elders from across the province so they can build inter-social and community links, and share culture and traditions.
Through open communication with First Nations, we benefit from local and traditional knowledge and ensure that areas of cultural importance are managed in a way that retains First Nations traditions and values. Through these discussions, we identify and track culturally important, sacred and spiritual sites so they can be managed appropriately in our forestry planning.
To learn more on Canfor's commitment to increasing the diversity of its workforce and the progress made to increase the participation and advancement of First Nations employees, visit the Diversity section of this report.